Tom Danielson's Foot Fix

 Feb 21, 2012 article & images by Nick Salazar

Tom Danielson testing cleat positions aboard his Cervelo P4

Tom Danielson is most decidedly NOT a triathlete. But he can definitely ride a bike. As a member of the UCI Pro Peloton, and one of the fastest cyclists the United States has ever produced, he's a force to be reckoned with. Tom works closely with Retul fit guru Mat Steinmetz, and has recently been taking a very close look at his foot mechanics. The Garmin-Barracuda rider uses about three degrees of varus tilt in each shoe, which helps him solve a particular problem he has. He tends to ride heels-in (which is either a supination or abduction, depending on exactly what's happening). This is a problem because his heels hit the chainstays, forcing him to use wider cranks. It also turns out this was costing him some power, and making him uncomfortable.

Adding the varus tilt, and paying close attention to cleat placement allowed Steinmetz to correct Tom's foot placement, getting him to pedal with his feet parallel to the bike. As a result, Tom switched back to Rotor 3D cranks, which are quite narrow with a Q-factor of 147mm. He's also been experimenting with shorter cranks, going back and forth between his usual 175mm cranks and 170's (while moving his saddle to compensate for the effective difference in saddle height).

The rest of the bike is pretty standard fare, but gorgeous nonetheless. Tom's P4 is stock, other than the UCI-specific seatpost and the standard bottle cage in place of the P4's integrated bottle, which is UCI illegal. 3T Brezza bars form the cockpit, with SRAM RED componentry all around.

When I asked him whether he would be riding the P5 soon, Tom only smiled and replied, "I want to." No word when the team would be getting its shipment, but stay tuned.

Tags » cervelo,  p4bike,  retul,  rigs,  steinmetz,  tomdanielson
  • Before his fit sessions, Tom likes to kick back and chew the fat with the boys from Retul.
  • It can be hard to get anything done when all you want to do is get the latest gossip from a Pro Tour cyclist.
  • Retul founder Todd carver (left) chilling with fitter Ivan O'Gorman (right). Another day, another cycling champion coming through the studio.
  • The order of the day was cleat placement and foot position. That yellow thing is a one-degree varus tilt wedge used to correct Tom's stance.
  • Not many people devote the time to biomechanics that Steinmetz does. He spent quite a while with Tom just dialing in his feet.
  • Interestingly, Danielson uses fixed-position cleats - with no float - which he finds is better for him. Personally, I moved to fixed cleats over a year ago and definitely like it better.
  • Out with the old, in with the new.
  • Danielson hopped on the new Retul Muve fit bike which had been set up to replicate his bike position, and allowed for easy fit changes.
  • Mat Steinmetz is a trusted fit advisor for roadies and triathletes alike.
  • Steinmetz affixed the Retul body markers to track Tom's position aboard the bike.
  • Danielson was trying out some custom prototype extensions. I can't tell you who will be making these, but they look nice. Similar to a lazy-S shape.
  • Tom Danielson's P4, looking as slick as ever ... even if it is about to be replaced by newer technology.
  • Restricted by UCI guidelines, Tom is running a standard bottle cage rather than the aero bottle integrated into the P4.
  • Big rings for the big watts Tom is pushing.
  • These name badges are standard fare in the Pro Peloton
  • Tom rides a mountain-esque Fizik saddle.
  • Tom Danielson's P4, just hanging out at Retul.
  • After the session on the Muve, Danielson hopped onto his P4 to nail the cleat placement.
  • Nice bike, but what's in the background? As is basically required of any pro athlete, Tom is hooked to his phone at all times.
  • Here's one little gem - Retul's new riser block. It's the first one I've seen that's continuously adjustable, and makes it a cinch to level a bike.  It may be overkill for home use though. At roughly $300 retail, it's meant to be a fitter's tool only.
  • Steinmetz keeps a close eye on Tom's feet placement and knee tracking.
  • Together, Danielson and Steinmetz nailed down the ideal cleat position, using three degrees of varus tilt in each foot.
  • Tommy D gets going.
  • With his feet dialed in, Danielson can use the narrow Rotor crank and bring his feet in.  This makes him more comfortable, and more aerodynamic to boot.
  • Putting the power down.
  • Tom Danielson on his Cervelo P4
  • Even though it's being phased out, the P4 is a stunning bike.
  • Steinmetz checks aerobar alignment.
  • One last adjustment, and Danielson will be good to go.

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